“Beam me up, Scotty” from the Star Trek series is a catchphrase that has made it into popular culture. it comes from the command Captain Kirk gives his chief engineer, Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, when he needs to be transported back to the starship Enterprise.
Fun fact, though — even though “Beam Me Up, Scotty” has been associated with Star Trek for decades, it has never actually been spoken in any of its TV episodes or films. It’s been used in many different kinds of slang expressions meaning a variety of things, among them to express the desire to be elsewhere - ‘Beam me up, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.”
Does anyone know what day we’re celebrating in the life of the church TODAY, this very day?? Ascension Day (Himmelfahrt). It’s an interesting time of year, when the school year starts to wind down, high school students go to the Proms, and we have graduations and “moving up” ceremonies.
Moving up. What happens on Ascension Day? (Jesus ascends into Heaven.) Who is with Jesus? (The disciples) Let’s briefly look at Luke 24 again.
In the passage we just heard, Jesus says: “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you…”
But wait a minute! Isn’t he still with them?
Jesus words must have seemed very confusing. Then it says He opened up the Scriptures and interpreted the meaning of all that had taken place. Same thing he did with the two men on the Road to Emmaus. Now he promises even more than the scriptures, saying, “See, I am sending upon what my Father promised, so STAY in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
What did he mean by “power from on high?” Here, in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus doesn’t say “Holy Spirit,” but in Lukes’ second volume, the Book of Acts (1:8) , he does: Listen -
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
This is the same Spirit that rested on Jesus at his baptism, the same Spirit that anointed Jesus to preach good news to the poor and freedom for the oppressed. This same “power from on high” would now be given to the disciples, and by extension, to us.
But how can we speak of something we have not seen? Could the Spirit be anything we imagine? In John’s gospel Jesus compared the Spirit to the wind = you hear the sound of it, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it goes. Though we can’t see the Spirit, we can see where the Spirit has been.
There is a wonderful woodcut of Jesus’ ascension by the medieval artist Albrecht Dürer (ca. 1510), who also drew and sculpted the famous “Praying Hands.” If you look closely at the picture — not up in the air, but on the ground — you can see footprints on the earth. Dürer carefully outlined Jesus’ footprints down on the level where the disciples are standing with their mouths open. Perhaps this artist is asking us, “Why do you stand looking up into heaven?”
The mystery of God closer to us than we are to ourselves.
“Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” From now on, Jesus says, “I will be with you. Though I am leaving, you will not be left alone.”
Verse 50 - “Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they were continually in the temple, blessing God.”
One last question — WHAT was the very first thing the disciples did after Jesus was taken away to heaven? (They worshipped him)
They worshipped him - and something very new and exciting happened. Something that began to lead us toward the Trinity. It was no longer possible to talk about God without talking about Jesus. Whenever we think about God, we always need to include a crucified, risen, and LIVING Christ.
The Spirit that annointed Jesus anoints us, still breathes with us and surprises us.
THIS — is staying power. This is a kind of energy we cannot find here on earth.
“All this energy issues from Christ. God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule.And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church.
The church, you see, is not peripheral to this world, but the world is peripheral to the church. (Let me say that again…)
The church is Christ’s body, in which Jesus speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence(2) — ALL IN ALL.. Amen.
Lundblad, Barbara. "Commentary on Luke 24:44-53, " May 5, 2016. https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2850
Peterson, Eugene H.. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 7-8). NavPress. Kindle Edition.
Mark Tranvik. "Commentary on Luke 24:44-53," May 12, 2013. https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1635